Jonathan: During the night a wild north-easterly laid down a carpet of fine powdery snow. Icy cold despite heavy cloud. Roads not salted, so a bit wobbly going to the croft. Loaded up with my bucket of grain and egg collecting bucket, I’m enveloped by a ferocious blizzard, blasting in from The Minch. In seconds I’m lost in a maelstrom of needle-sharp ice and swirling darkness. The geese are calling for me, and I for them, but I can scarcely see my own feet. I abandon the usual feeding point and rush headlong down the hill, for the shelter of the old ruins. Amidst the howling wind and stinging ice I can make out their call, but in the meagre light before dawn I can see nothing. Then, suddenly, the heavy beating of wings and looking up, the air is filled with geese descending around me, their wings outspread, all white feathers and bright orange legs lit up against the black sky by no more than the ethereal light of the snow itself. One of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. A moment I’ll never forget – not least because one goose thumped right into my chest!
Jonathan: This time yesterday morning it was -5 deg C outside; now it is +10 deg and all the ice and snow has gone. Instead everything is sodden and dirty; and the wind has picked up bringing damp air off the sea – which is the coldest feeling of all. Thankfully I’m working inside today!
Jonathan: The max-min thermometer outside recorded -5degC last night (and that in the relative shelter of the woodstore and near the house, so probably a couple of degrees colder). That’s a record low since we moved here eight years ago. Also the cold continuing day-on-day for nearly two weeks now. The night frost sparkles with starlight, and in the morning the cars are covered with the distinctive graffiti of Jack Frost. Now, at mid-morning, the sun shines wanly out of clear pale blue sky, but behind glass it has yet the power to warm and enliven. But in the shadows – and at this time of year and at this latititude the shadows are very long! – the ice lingers on.